Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Visit from Lee University.

In December, we were blessed to have a visit from a team of Lee University students. It was wonderful to have our friend William Lamb (Director of Service Learning at Lee) and his son on the team, as well as seven other students from Lee University.

The team at the airport just after arrival in Asuncion.

They came bearing so many gifts both for us and for the children's home that the day we unpacked the bags felt like an early Christmas. They brought with them a weed eater, chain saw, and hedge trimmer, for which Shaun and Roberto Carlos (who takes care of a lot of the grounds' maintenance) were thrilled. Yes, they checked all of those items onto the plane! They also brought with them a new pair of tennis shoes and Reebok bookbags for every child in the home! The kids have never owned bookbags or tennis shoes of this quality and they were thrilled to receive them.

In addition to the gifts that they brought, the group spent each of their nine days in Paraguay working hard to serve our facilities, completing an incredible amount of projects: tree trimming, cutting grass, cleaning and organizing our industrial kitchen, painting the playground equipment, cleaning our primary school building and yard, organizing our computer lab and classroom space in the administrative building, painting two houses, hosting a community event at the school, walking throughout the community to pass out family photos, preforming a drama in the children's church service, painting every girl in the home's nails, and hosting a Christmas Bar-B-Que for the kids. One of their days was also spent painting the playground of a Church of God school in the capital and visiting the homes of the students from the school that live in an impoverished community surrounding a landfill.

Thank you to every team member. Each of you blessed us in a unique way and worked hard during your time here. You are all welcome in Paraguay at any time!

Lysandry, Nilda, and Lujan enjoying Twister- one of the special gifts from the team!

If you or your school or church are interested in visiting Paraguay on a missions/service trip, please contact us at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birthdays- Meet more of the kids!

Wow. It has been a long time since my last blog. Four of the kids have celebrated their birthdays since the last post.

Lysandry turned 13. She lives in House 3 and is the eldest of five siblings in the home. She is our little sassy one. In school, even in English class, she learns very quickly. For her, studying involves looking over her notes once and she will have every letter correct on the exam. She and Nilda (from House 1) are best friends and they are both finishing up the 6th grade. (The school year here runs from February to November.) Lysandry is a beautiful young lady with the curliest hair you have ever seen.

Lysandry cutting her birthday cake.

On November 1st, Nayeli and Junior both celebrated their birthdays. On the 5th was their sister, Lujan's, birthday. Nayeli turned 8, Junior 9, and Lujan 11. The three siblings are extremely smart and do very well in school. Nayeli is Abi's best friend and is in the first grade. She is the informer of the group and likes to relay every detail of everyone's behavior to me each day. She is a very affectionate and loving child. Junior is in the second grade and is also a loving child. He is extremely competitive when it comes to sports and even though he is smaller than most of the kids, he always holds his own. Lujan is a precious little girl, even though she acts like she is already a young lady. She, like Lysandry, does her schoolwork with no problems. She is very small for her age, barely bigger than Nayeli. She is in the forth grade.

Nayeli and Junior with their birthday cakes.

Lujan in her new birthday outfit.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


We were so excited Sunday when Lorena and Alejandra's grandma arrived with Kimberly. The first day she was a little unsure of her surroundings, but by Monday, she was settling in and blending right in with the family of House 1. Cristina, previously the baby of the house also had a difficult day Sunday, crying almost the whole evening over losing her position as the baby of the house. However, by Monday night, Cristina and Kimberly were playing together like best friends. Abi is also excited to have a friend her very own age. Kimberly is only a few months younger than Abi (they are both three years old).

Kimberly in her new dress!

The next two pictures are from the past weekend.

Game night at our house last Friday- puzzles for the little ones and Uno for the older kids.

Sunday was very hot- so Shaun created a sprinkler with a coke bottle tied in a tree.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spring is here!

Spring has arrived in Paraguay with a blur of blooming trees and plants. I must say that it is beautiful. The apacho trees that bloomed in giant pink blossoms were breathtaking. Now there are white and yellow blossoms on many of the trees and countless vines, bushes, and flowers showing their springtime color.

Pink Blooms of the Lapacho

In addition, spring brings new life. We have had two calves born in the last two weeks and eight baby rabbits.

Rubia's new baby bull

One of the precious, new, little bunnies

The two newest girls, Lorena and Alejandra are doing very well and settling in nicely. We are still waiting for their youngest sister, Kimberly to arrive. Continue to keep her in your prayers.

Cristina, Alejandra, Lorena, Rocio, Nayeli, and Abi playing at the park.

If you have not checked out our video link located on the right side of the blog, please do. It shows the facility here and explains a little about what is going on in our children's homes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Growing Again!!

Today was a special day as two new girls arrived in the children's home. With Mario and Suni moving to House 10 with their two children and transitioning to working solely with the farm and garden, spaces were then available in House 1 with Delia and Rafael (who are doing a fantastic job with their new position as house parents).

We had received inquiries and calls about receiving several more children, but the sisters that came today had been waiting with their paperwork ready since April. They are also cousins of Gloria and nieces of Talia, two of our girls in House 3. Lorena is 10 years old and Alejandra is 8. The girls had been living with their grandmother who was having a difficult time caring for them and working. The girls were very excited when they arrived today. They are looking forward to living here, learning English, and being close to their aunt and cousin.

Abi, Lorena, and Alejandra- already friends.

Lorena and Alejandra are now settling in to House 1 where they will be sharing a room with Nayeli and Lujan. They also have a 3 year old sister, Kimberly, who will hopefully be coming to the home as well. Her paperwork had not yet been completed and thus she was not able to stay today. Please pray that her paperwork would be completed quickly with the judge and that she would be able to come to the home so that she will not be apart from her sisters for more time than necessary and so that she will be in a safer and more stable environment.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Meet Andres and a Need.

Two blogs back, I posted about Andres' surgery to repair a hernia. He is completely recovered now and doing great. He celebrated his 9th birthday on August 18th. Andres lives in House 3 and has four brothers and sisters that are also here in the home. He is a pretty quiet child, but is always the first person to give you a hug when you enter the room. Andres is in the second grade.

Andres with his cake.

Also celebrating a birthday this past week, was Shaun. He turned 29. Sadly his birthday was a rainy day with a hail storm. In the evening, however, each of the kids came to our house to sing to him and to either present him with small gifts or in one case to give him a rehearsed speech about "coming without a gift, but coming because the children wanted him to know how special of a person he is to them." Kevin, delivering the speech, paused in the middle and looked up at his "tia" to ask how the speech was supposed to go. It was all very sweet.

Shaun with Lujan.

On another note, I am posting a picture of the recently repaired street lights on our property. Several months ago, we became aware that there were several very dangerous issues with the electricity at the children's home. The estimates for repairing the problems ran anywhere from just over $1500 all the way up to $3000 for the necessary repairs. We had this project in our minds as a priority when one day Mario from house 1 came to tell us that his plant in his front yard shocked him. We went with a meter to check out the problem and the plants and bricks around the house's meter box were holding 200 volts of electricity. After this discovery, we called the electrician and asked him to please come and start the work- that we could not afford to wait- for the sake of the children's safety. These repairs, including replacing several power polls, repairing transformers, replacing street lights, tightening existing wires, and trimming all trees interfering with the electric lines have now been completed (for just over $1500). Our property is now much safer for the children- and much brighter at night. If you are interested in donating to this electric project (or future electric projects dealing with each house's wiring), please contact us at

The street in front of the homes at night- with the repaired street lights.

Día del Niño

Last Sunday was Paraguay's "Day of the Child". I didn't realize how giant of a celebration this day was going to be until the events began. On Friday the children's school celebrated with an event. On Saturday, the foundation GANAR (the owners of the facility here) hosted a large grill-out picnic, complete with a blow-up bouncy slide.

No paraguayan asado is complete without a whole load of meat!

Lujan and Mili at the grill out in their new skirts brought by the High Point mission team.

On Sunday, we had two different groups come for a visit that hosted activities for the kids.

The clowns singing a song with the kids.

A game of musical pillows led by our friends Julio and Vivi!

Each of the events included a lot of candy and cake- I feel like we need to celebrate National Dentist's Day the Monday after Day of the Child. This holiday seemed as big as Christmas with the kids receiving quite a few gifts. With this holiday falling on the heels of our visitors from High Point, North Carolina, our kids have been overwhelmingly showered with gifts- which they don't seem to mind! I thank the Lord that so many people came to visit over this weekend! I am especially grateful for our friends Julio and Vivi that we met shortly after arriving in Paraguay, who also presented a gospel message to the kids after leading them in several games.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Come on down!

We have spent the last month preparing our multi-purpose building to house mission teams. When we arrived the building was basically abandoned. After a little initial cleaning we began to have church in the its largest room. Now after a lot of hard work (thanks Shaun and Milciades) the building is repaired, painted, equipped and open for housing mission teams.

One of the bunk rooms

Our first team arrived last week. They came from the High Point COGOP in North Carolina. Because they are sponsoring the children we have at Hogar Ganar, they came ready to minister to the kids in the home. We had a great day last Saturday when they took the kids on a shopping trip, to eat lunch at McDonald's, and to see Ice Age 3. The following day, we had a giant BBQ and the team prepared crafts and sports games for the kids. Sunday evening they coordinated our weekly kids' service and gave an age-appropriate Bible to each of the kids. Their trip here has been a great blessing to us and the children. Thank you, High Point!

Mili, Lujan, Rodi, Kevin, and Gloria enjoying the playground at McDonald's

If you are interested in visiting Paraguay on a mission trip with your local church, please contact us ( We have the facility ready and are waiting for you to come on down!

I would like to thank the Lord for keeping Andres (from House 3) safe during his operation to repair a hernia. The surgery went well, and Andres is healing very nicely. He was able to participate in the activities with the visiting mission team, is back in school, and feeling great.

Andres on the day of his surgery

Another piece of important news concerning the homes is a staff change that will be taking place. Mario and Suni, the house parents in House 1, will be transitioning to another position. They will be moving to House 10 to oversee the gardens, fruit groves, and crops. They have been serving as house parents now for 5 years (they worked here in a previous program) with no break and are ready for a transition. They, along with their two sons, will continue to live on the grounds, but they will be serving in a different way. As you could see in my posts about the garden, Mario loves his work with plants and is extremely talented. He is thrilled about the extra time that he will now have to focus on expanding our garden and planting larger crops.

The replacement for Mario and Suni will be Suni's sister Delia and her husband, Rafael that were both working here already (Rafael in the bakery and in lawn care and Delia in housekeeping). They have already taken care of the children in House 1 on many days and know each of the kids very well. They are frequently out playing sports with the kids and they love their time spent with the children. I feel that the transition will be a smooth one. Please be in prayer that God would prepare Delia and Rafael's hearts for this important transition and that each of the children would accept the change well and be respectful to their new house parents.

Rafael and Delia

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Gift from Our Garden.

Today, Lujan came in and surprised me with a tray-full of produce fresh from our garden!

This picture is a bonus to illustrate that Abi has become a great helper around the house. Because she sees the other kids doing their chores, she wants to help with all of my chores. She brings me clothes from the washer out to the line and now she is learning how to sweep. Believe it or not, she is the one that asks to be able to "sweep."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hans and Pigs Have Arrived- Bakery up and Running- Meet Carlos- Mennonite Work Team

It has been a while since we have posted a blog. We have been busy and are so excited about all that is developing here on the property.

One of the most exciting developments has been the addition to our team. Through an English teacher that we lived with last year in Guatemala, we met Hans Burkholder, originally from Virginia, shortly after arriving in Paraguay. He was teaching last year at a Christian school in Asuncion. Hans was looking for a place to continue his work in Paraguay and has come to work here at Hogar Ganar. He has already began several projects in the farming area of the ministry and has great ideas for helping the kids learn valuable farming skills. He also plays the guitar, which makes our worship services much more enjoyable. We feel so blessed that the Lord is continuing to send talented people our way to help us mentor and develop the children in our home.

Hans and Gloria with the new rabbits, one of Han's projects.

The pigs that I had mentioned in an earlier blog have finally arrived. We have four little piglets intended to be used as breeding stock so that in the future we will no longer have to buy our own pork. The garden is continuing to grow as well, and more and more of the veggies are ripening to harvest.

I don't really know how to take a "good" picture of pigs.

Back in March, I posted a blog concerning the professional bakery that had been donated by the Rotary Club of Asuncion. We finally have a nice schedule with the bakery and are making weekly use of it for the consumption of the kids in the home. The kids are even helping out in the bakery- and they LOVE it. They roll the dough and form the little "kokitos" on the baking sheet.

One of our senior helpers in the bakery is Carlos. He had actually worked in a bakery as a child, but told us that he loved the work. So the last two weeks, he has helped on the day that we bake bread (usually we only bake one day a week). He had his 12th birthday last week. Carlos is the oldest boy in House 1 and he is in the forth grade. He is extremely helpful and has the greatest crooked smile. He loves working in the bakery and doing any type of work that requires taking things apart or putting things together. He also loves the computer class he is taking at the "community center." He is always polite and kind. You can't help but to love Carlos!

Carlos with a fresh batch of kokitos.

Finally, we hosted a work team of youth from the Mennonite World Conference that was held here in Paraguay this year. They brought about 40 young people from several different countries and parts of Paraguay to help with cleaning. I was amazed at how much work they accomplished in one day. We broke the group into teams and they were each assigned a house or bathroom to clean. They worked willingly and cheerfully, and they were a huge blessing! Thank you, Mennonite World Conference.

The group.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Meet Cristina.

The 4th of July was not just the United States' birthday, it was also Cristina's (from House 1) 5th birthday!

Cristina is a little bundle of energy. She is pictured in the last blog playing in the dirt with Abi. She does well in her pre-school class and is very affectionate and talkative. She has four older siblings (Nilda, Carlos, Ever, and Rocio). She has a funny little scratchy voice, and the cutest smile in the world. She likes to sing in church and especially loves to do the motions to the songs.

Cristina in her new birthday outfit.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Six Teeth Pulled and Zero Tears!

The dentist that has been working on disinfecting and cleaning our dental clinic came for a surprise visit last Saturday and brought her twin sister (also a dentist) and a dental assistant. They readied the clinic and pulled teeth from six of our kids. Much to my astonishment, not a single child cried! That is what I call some good dentistry. I watched them work and was thanking the Lord for sending such skilled workers to the children's home.

Lujan getting a numbing shot.

Junior and the twin dentists!

Keep the children in your prayers as several have been sick with cold and flu-like symptoms. Most seem to be on the way to recovery (thank you, Lord), but with the weather fluctuating every day from hot to cold, we would like the Lord to protect them from becoming ill again.

Abi and Cristina playing in the dirt.

An update on the tilapia pond: because of the arrival of winter, the agricultural engineers have suggested that we wait until after winter to bring in the fish so that there will be greater stability in the ponds. The pigs that we are buying have been born and as soon as they are weaned will be moved to our facility. Also, the "worm" farm that Mario (our garden expert) has been preparing should start up sometime in the next two weeks. From that, we will be developing better compost to use on our organic garden, which by the way is producing a lot of veggies already!

The sunsets on our property are spectacular!

Happy 4th of July!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

La Huerta- The Garden.

Last Sunday we had a great service with the kids. A friend and evangelist, Saul, visited the home and spoke to the kids. It was also our Sunday designated for recitation of the last four scriptures that were memorized. Eight children recited all four scriptures nearly perfectly and several others knew three of the four. I am so proud of the kids for working hard to memorize scripture. They are such intelligent children. I was especially proud of Miguel Paredes who normally has serious stage fright- he volunteered to come up as one of the first and spoke out every single scripture in a loud and clear voice. I wanted to cry with joy. The reward for those that recited all perfectly was a trip with us to the local ice cream parlor. This time, because the scriptures were longer, the kids were able to get FOUR scoops of ice cream. Honestly I did not think they would be able to finish their bowls, but I was wrong! So you can get an idea of how hard the kids work at memorization, I will put the scriptures below (I will put them in English, but of course they memorized the Spanish version):
  • Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
  • This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9
  • Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
We are so excited that these children are not only receiving a safe home with plenty of food, but that they are also receiving the bread of life. Thanks to each of you for your prayers that make our ministries here a reality.

As a second part to this blog, I would like to recognize Mario, our house parent from House 1 for all of his hard work in our garden. Our garden is growing and has so many things growing in it that I don't even know what they all are. We have strawberries, lettuce, medicinal herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, green onions, cabbage, carrots, parsley, radishes, tomatoes, beets, and a bunch of other things that I could not find a translation for in the dictionary. Eventually we hope for the food grown in the garden to not only be for our own consumption, but to also be a way of blessing our community and generating some revenue. See the pictures below to get a better idea of how beautiful the garden is.

Here is a view of the strawberry plants in a small portion of the garden.

This is Mario working in the garden with his son, Rodi.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thanks for the Hats!

I would like to say thank you to Jamie and Marion (missionaries in Ciudad del Este) for the package they sent us that was full of fleece hats and some other great gifts. We had enough hats to pass out one to each of the children that attend the public school located on our property. It was so fun to pass out the hats, and even more fun to take pictures of the kids with them on.

Another update about the farming project: On Thursday, Shaun, Mario (tio from house 1), Roberto Carlos (in charge of the cows), and Nick Calfee (a youth from our church in TN that is visiting) cleaned out two tilapia ponds. We should be placing fish in the ponds next week. We also spoke with a neighbor who has pigs that will be born in a few weeks. We plan to buy four pigs from him once they are weaned and start to have our own pigs here to help offset the cost of buying meat.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Matias: Welcome and Happy Birthday!

The total is now at 19! We had been waiting for another little boy named Matias to arrive. He lived with the five siblings in House 3 before they were placed in children's homes. He followed them in some of their children's homes, but was left behind in one of the homes when they were transferred. They all call him their little brother and asked if he would be able to come. When the houseparents agreed to taking on one more child, we contacted Nilda, a child advocate, who was responsible for bringing the five siblings in House 3 here, the paperwork was fixed and Matias was able to be transferred here. House 3 now has 11 children. When he arrived on Tuesday we learned that his birthday was the following day!

On Tuesday Shaun went with the house parent in House 3 to find the home of Miguel Angel. He arrived here in January from another children's home with zero paperwork. We didn't have an official name, birthdate, or anything! He was an considered abandoned child when taken into Paraguay's child services. Miguel Angel remembers where he is from and occasionally cries to go back home. We decided that the best thing would be to take him back to his town so that we could find his family and discover a little about his past. Shaun said that the trip was very difficult and that he understands even more the need for homes like ours. The conversations were in Guarani entirely, so Shaun could only read the body language during their hour visit. Miguel Angel's mother is very young and has six other children. She had no idea where Miguel Angel was, nor did any of the other family members. I have given this story to explain that the family gave us Miguel Angel's birth certificate and we were finally able to know how old he was and what his legal name was. His birthday passed in April and he turned 10. Since we were about to celebrate Matias and Thalia's (she turns 11 today) birthdays, we decided to have a big party and celebrate for Miguel Angel as well.

I will share a little about the three children that celebrated their birthdays:

Miguel Angel turned 10 in April. He is in the first grade for now (although we may try to change that now that we know he had already completed second grade before coming here). He scored perfect on my English exam that was this past week. He is very smart and normally extremely happy. Please pray especially for him as he is having a hard time right now adjusting to his family becoming a part of his life again. He was living on the streets before coming here and he desperately needs the Lord's help to heal him emotionally from the life that he lived before. Pray that he would feel loved and that he would be at peace living here.

Matias turned 7 years old and is in the first grade. He just arrived so I don't know him very well yet, but I have heard from his house parents that he may be quite a little handful. He is very energetic and already seems completely at home. He is very affectionate and already has a long list of things that he would like for me to buy him! :)

Thalia turned 11. She is a special little girl. She is in the first grade. Her favorite activities are singing and dancing and she is almost always either singing or dancing, or combining the two. She is very pleasant and a very good worker when it comes time for chores. The changes that have occurred with her since she arrived are amazing. She is becoming a lovely young lady.

Tuesday was a busy day! We also received a package from some missionaries that live in Ciudad del Este, Jamie and Marion (click to see their website). The package was STUFFED with scarves and hats for the community, prints of paintings Jamie created, hand-knitted teddy bears sent from a group of ladies in the UK, and a few exciting gifts for Abi. The children were so thrilled with their packages and have been sleeping with their little hand-knitted bears. Even the oldest boys showed me how they had their bears tucked in! Thanks so much to Jamie and Marion for these wonderful gifts!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Meeting the Neighbors.

I would like to share a little about our day today.  Thanks to some help from my parents, we were able to buy several blankets to pass out in the community around us.  With the nights dipping into the 40's and many of our neighbors with no way to close their windows and no doors at all, we felt the need to do something for as many neighbors as we could.  Our friends the Hagermans (check out their blog here) who live and work about an hour away from us gave us the idea to pass out blankets along with the Bibles we purchased recently.  They also began a family photo project with their neighbors, taking their family portrait.  This was one of the best ideas I have heard of as a way to get to know your neighbors.  I have started this project with our immediate neighbors.  

Some of the neighbors- What beautiful children!

Because we want the children in the the children's home to learn that serving others is an important part of our Christian faith, four of the older kids walked out into the community with us to distribute the blankets and Bibles.  They loved being able to help and are already asking about the next time we can go out for another project.  

Lysandry, Lujan, Nilda, and Carlos carrying blankets to pass out.

We saved a few blankets back to take to specific families from the school that I have recognized in my classes as having serious needs.  Hopefully tomorrow, we can pass those last blankets out.  Later in the afternoon a group of women showed up asking for blankets, but we only had the few left we had set aside and we were not able to give them anything.

While Shaun and I have done a lot of driving around the community, today was really the first time we went off the main roads and out into the smaller neighborhoods.  We found that the children's home is literally surrounded by homes in desperate poverty.  Mario (the house parent from House 1) explained that most of the wealthier people live on the main roads, but as you branch out on the literal pig paths, there are hundreds of homes with thousands of children, nearly all living without indoor plumbing and most in homes without windows or doors.  There is also a squatter village just a street over from the childrens home with about 200 houses (a guesstimate) made of scrap metal and wood.  Some days the unemployment and poverty that surrounds us is daunting.  We have so many resumes of people just wanting work, and even more informal requests for jobs.  Please be in prayer with us that the Lord would lead us in the way that we can best reach out to our community (meanwhile teaching the children in the children's home the importance of service) and that He would open the hearts of the people to learn about the Him.  

Another exciting update: Today we were visited by a government organization, SNPP, that offers help in the area of farming.  The group that came included three agricultural engineers.  They were excited about working with us and will be meeting on Monday to discuss sending volunteers twice a week to help us in the garden and also to teach the children how to garden.  The potential of our property here is vast.  We have 9 tilapia ponds that need some cleaning and maintenance to open, 6 chicken houses that can be opened after a little repair work and disinfecting, space for pigs, a growing garden, a worm colony (I am not actually sure how to talk about that in English, but something about earthworms), and space for additional cattle.  I am learning so much about farming and my vocabulary is expanding daily as far as agricultural lingo is concerned.  Our children's home is very blessed to have house parents and Roberto Carlos (the man in charge of the cattle and farm area) who are passionate about starting new projects and working to make the children's home a little more self-sufficient.  

If you are interested in helping with either buying more blankets for the community or in aiding in one of the agricultural projects, please contact us at  Thank you for your prayers.  The Lord is blessing the children's home and we are so thankful.  


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bible Memory and Mother's Day.

The past two weeks have been busy.  Two Sundays ago, we had a special church service with scripture recitation.  The children had to recite the scriptures that they had learned over the previous four weeks.  Nearly all of them recited John 3:16 and the Lord's Prayer.  As a reward, any child that tried to say the scriptures was able to go out to town for ice cream.  This was a very exciting event for the kids and we had a wonderful time.  After laying out the basic gopel message in our first church service, we have since been focusing on prayer.  We began taking prayer requests last Sunday, and we are hoping the children will learn to take all circumstances that are worrying them to the Lord in prayer.  

Friday before last was Mother's Day here in Paraguay.  I attended an event at the school on Thursday to celebrate Mother's Day and Paraguayan Independence Day.  The students put together a program that included singing, dancing, and poem recitation.  At the close of the event, the children gave handmade gifts to their mothers (or in our children's case, their house moms).  I was so happy to receive Carlos' potted flower.  He told me that he wanted me to have it.  It was a very good day.  That night, the children signed a banner for their house moms and we suprised them with gifts.  While many of the children in our home still have biological parents that visit periodically, it seemed so natural for them to show their appreciation to their "tias."  I think the kids had even more fun making the gifts and giving them than the house moms did getting them (although they were pretty excited, too).